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The Key to Managing Human Resources in the 21st Century

             Current issues facing human resources are expected to change dramatically in the next 20 years. Thus, human resource professionals must play special roles in dealing with these changes and must develop specific competencies to support these roles. This essay will outline major changes expected in the future, as well as the roles, competencies and tools necessary to overcome these changes.
             Workplace flexibility is expected to be on the rise as the future workplace, the "virtual office", is characterized by creative and flexible work arrangements. As more employees work off-site, two-thirds of an organization in the 21st century, there will be an increase in emphasis on performance and results as opposed to the number of hours worked. In addition, off-site employees can expect to attend fewer meetings. Specified work will become much more collaborative and management will spend nearly all its time managing cross-functional work teams who have a great deal of autonomy. In essence, we will be moving towards a decentralized model of HR.
             Human resource professionals will have to accommodate employees in their virtual work locations and find ways to manage corporate culture, socialization and employee orientation. In order to obtain and maintain a competent workforce, they must act as organizational performance experts and shape employee behavior without face-to-face meetings.
             Another expected change in Human Resources is the Global business' concept. Major growth in world trade is forecasted as well as a great deal of growth in international businesses, especially among small firms. Organizations will rely on human resource professionals as the facilitators of work across borders and among different cultures. Therefore, they must be knowledgeable of other cultures, languages and business practices. They will be required to develop and manage an international workforce, maintain written and unwritten corporate policies for transportability to other cultures, keep top management informed of the costs of not paying attention to the transnational issues and provide their services to a variety of locations world wide.

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